(Originally posted on www.FromWinetoFine.com)
Holy sh*t!?! I DID IT!!! I've gone 365 days without a SINGLE DROP OF AlCOHOL!
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I could go this long without my sweet escape, my crutch, my friend- but I sure did! And I'm just so dang happy because of it!
Truth be known this was no smooth ride; not at all! But somewhere along the way the tracks balanced out. Living sober is just how I live now, and I'm 100% OK with this lifestyle. Honestly, it's waaaayyyy better than the anxiety-induced, hungover, bloated, selfish, dramatic, and self-loathing life of being a drunk mom.
I'm free, folks! I'm flying high on LIFE! And the best part? I'm just getting started!!
So what have I learned in my first year of sobriety?
Going to bed early Going to bed early (rather than passing out) and waking early (sans hangover) makes for really fulfilling days.
The tempting voice in your head actually quiets down over time. In fact, most days it's on mute.
Breaking drinking habits and routines are hard, but it can be done! You just have to create new habits and be persistent.
You don't need AA, but you do need to have a support system.
There is a major correlation between anxiety and alcohol. The less you drink, the less anxious you feel. Who knew?!? Buh, bye anti-anxiety meds!
You take on your roles in life (i.e. mom, wife, professional) much better when you're completely present.
You gain back so much time! Hello, new or postponed hobbies!
Your sweet tooth really speaks up when you stop drinking, but you feel lifetimes less guilty indulging in ice cream or cookies rather than blacking out.
You deflate (aka lose weight)! (Unless you're eating too much ice cream...;).
You reverse time on your skin and eyes!
You save money (aka you can spend your money elsewhere, like on massages, new clothes, those in need...).
You really start to figure out your feelings. It's like you're in elementary school, again, and you learn how to identify mad, sad, scared, tired, confused, and happy.
You learn new ways of coping with those identified feelings.
You have funky days, but that comes whether you're sober or not. It's called LIFE!
There are a lot of others out there in your shoes. Find them! Connect with them!
You're not crazy! Alcohol just made you feel that way. (OK, maybe sometimes you're still crazy ;).
Brain space and pleasant thoughts are returned to you on a golden platter. You don't have to think, plot, plan, dread, justify, worry, etc. You get to think about all things good that don't involve alcohol!
Get-togethers are way more pleasant because you're completely present. When you laugh, cry, chat, and listen, you're all in! You're experiencing those moments as they are supposed to be.
You learn your own boundaries.
You start to love yourself because you're finally getting to know yourself.
You live more authentically because you're not carrying the weight of shame, guilt or embarrassment.
Your empathy for others sky rockets!
But the biggest lesson learned--hands down-- is that you're a lot tougher than you think.
You really can do hard things and conquer. You were built to be challenged and to be rewarded when you overcome a challenge. The reward for living a sober life? An appreciation for life! I don't know about you, but I'd say that's one of the best rewards we could ever achieve!
Gratitude. Peace. Self-worth. Joy. That's what you receive when we break up with any self-destructive habit that's preventing you from living your best life. It doesn't even have to be drinking! Maybe it's a poor diet, an abusive relationship, an eating disorder, working too much, etc. Letting the chains fall, taking a leap of faith, fighting through the tough patches, and staying the course will make it SO WORTH IT in the end. I promise. Cliche, but oh-so-true, if I can do it, you can do it, too!
Thanks to each of you for joining me, supporting me, and cheering me on during this first year of my new life. I thank God for each of you, and I am here if ever the favor needs to be returned. Much love, always!
Now to go kick some second year bootay!